The emotional toll of job insecurity is immense, particularly in today's environment where layoffs are becoming increasingly common. Literally, overnight, thousands of hardworking professionals are now facing the daunting task of navigating an already difficult job market in an effort to find new employment.
It's a stressful experience that can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, and uncertain about their future.
If you are in management, supervisory, or other similar roles, the following are several things you can do to help alleviate the emotional toll of job insecurity among your employees:
1. Genuinely acknowledge the fear and uncertainty associated with job insecurity.
This is vitally important, not just for those directly impacted by layoffs but also for the entire workplace as a whole. By recognizing this fear in a supportive manner and offering meaningful words of encouragement, managers can help foster an environment where everyone feels respected, supported, and appreciated regardless of job status.
2. Provide opportunities for open dialogue between you and your employees.
This will allow them to discuss the realities of job insecurity and help them cope with any related stress or anxiety they may be feeling.
3. Actively listen to their concerns.
Deep listening demonstrates empathy for what they are going through. And wherever possible, try to provide them with reassurance that you are doing everything you can to protect their jobs.
4. Try to provide some sense of stability
This should be done by providing clear expectations with regard to job responsibilities, timelines, and potential opportunities that may arise from any layoffs.
5. Encourage your employees to take advantage of available assistance programs.
Unemployment can create financial hardships, but the mental cost should not be overlooked. Point them in the direction of any in or out-of-company support groups, mental health services, financial assistance, and other support opportunities.
But what about ME?
And let’s not forget that having to deal with the fallout and chaos wreaking havoc on others shouldn’t be the only thing on your plate. You too may have unfortunately received word that you will be losing your job, or your position may be significantly changing as well.
So in order to protect your own mental health, prioritizing self-care is critical. Self-care can come in the form of meditation, regular exercise, reaching out to peers or colleagues who may be going through similar situations in order to provide each other with support, and/or taking advantage of some of the assistance programs mentioned above.
You will get through this!
Although the emotional toll of job insecurity is difficult to cope with, leaders have the potential to actively support their employees—and themselves—when facing such a challenge.